Barr defends administration's efforts to overturn ObamaCare in court

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Feds distributing masks, other gear seized in price-gouging investigation to NY, NJ health care workers MORE on Tuesday defended the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to support a court ruling that would overturn ObamaCare.

The DOJ last month sided with a lower court ruling that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, going past its previous position that only part of the law should be struck down.

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Asked by Rep. Matt CartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightOvernight Energy: Coal industry seeks fee rollbacks amid coronavirus | Ex-lawyer for trophy hunting group joins Trump agency | EPA sued over reapproval of Roundup chemical Coal industry asks for financially beneficial rollbacks amid coronavirus House Democrats jam GOP with coronavirus bill MORE (D-Pa.) why the DOJ would take such “dramatic and drastic action,” Barr replied: “Do you think it’s likely we’re going to prevail?”

“We are in litigation and we have to take a position. If you think it’s such an outrageous position, you have nothing to worry about. Let the courts do their job,” he said during a House Appropriations hearing Tuesday. 

A federal judge in Texas struck down ObamaCare in December, ruling that the law's individual mandate was unconstitutional.

The judge sided with Republican-led states that had filed a lawsuit against the health care policy, ruling that ObamaCare can’t stand without the penalty for not having insurance, which Congress repealed in 2017.

Last month, the DOJ said in a court filing that the judge, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor, came to the correct conclusion and said it would support the ruling when the decision is appealed.

The DOJ previously said that only the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be thrown out. The Justice Department, which typically defends federal laws in court, broke with precedent in refusing to defend ObamaCare, a move that Democrats call politically motivated.

A coalition of Democratic states, led by California, has been defending the law and is seeking an appeal of the decision.

On Tuesday, House Democrats sent letters to the DOJ, the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House demanding access to documents and information regarding the involvement of key administration officials in the decision not to defend the law.

Specifically, House Democrats, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (N.Y.) and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaryland postpones primary over coronavirus fears Maryland governor: 'Simply not enough supplies' on hand to tackle coronavirus Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE (Md.), are asking for communications between White House officials regarding that decision and a list of officials involved in the decision. 

“The House is determined to get answers on the administration's nakedly political decision to rip affordable health care away from millions and millions of Americans," Nadler said Tuesday.